Reading Time: < 1 minute By Joreth (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Reading Time: < 1 minute

Religious believers say that faith gives “meaning” to their life. As a lifelong nonbeliever, I do not understand that.  My life is what I make of it…what I DO with it. How does sitting and praying to God or believing in God give meaning to life? It may give some people solace…to believe that death is not the end.  Belief in an afterlife leads some to consider life here on earth just a temporary interlude before the REAL eternal life begins.  Rather than giving life meaning, that devalues life.

I believe it is the good works that I do, including providing for my family, being a good parent, and contributing in other ways…though my work, both paid and volunteer that give meaning to life; through the things I leave behind that might help those who follow…my writings, things I build or create…works of art…or just the memories others have of me (hopefully good).  These are the things that give my life meaning. Whether I believe in God, Jesus or any other supernatural being seems irrelevant to me. I want to leave the world a better place because of what I do here…and to be remembered as a decent person.  If the way I live my life serves as a good example for my children and grandchildren, that is plenty of “meaning” for me.

I don’t need religious faith to do any of those things.

Bert Bigelow is a trained engineer who pursued a career in software design. Now retired, he enjoys writing short essays on many subjects but mainly focuses on politics and religion and the intersection...